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 Header Item National Monuments (Continued)
 Header Item Commemorative Events
 Header Item Seirbhísí Oileán

Tuesday, 9 December 2014

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 861 No. 1

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(Speaker Continuing)

[Deputy Sandra McLellan: Information on Sandra McLellan Zoom on Sandra McLellan] I ask the Minister to reconsider her position and instead pledge a full and independent battlefield sites survey of the Moore Street area bringing together all relevant parties with the intention of developing a new plan to protect, preserve and develop this historic quarter of our city.

If it is the case that the Minister is intent, on behalf of the Government, on abandoning the Moore Street project - as envisaged by the majority of Dublin City Council who represent the citizens of our capital city - will she state this clearly?

Deputy Heather Humphreys: Information on Heather Humphreys Zoom on Heather Humphreys I want to be clear that I am not abandoning the Moore Street project. As I said, I was disappointed when the decision was arrived at by the city council. I have met with both groups of relatives, one of which is entirely supportive of the proposals for the national monument. They are keen that it should progress.

I have also met with Dublin City Council's Moore Street advisory committee and am meeting them again tomorrow morning to discuss the matter further in light of the vote on the land swap. The land swap would have put the national monument and the fully restored 1916 commemorative centre into the city council's ownership and under its management.

I have also visited the national monument myself and have been through the entire site. During the visit, I spoke to a number of traders on the street who are supportive of the plans for the monument itself and the proposals to redevelop the wider area. The matter is now fundamentally in the hands of Dublin City Council and the monument owners but I will do everything I can to encourage progress with the project.

Commemorative Events

 89. Deputy Ruth Coppinger Information on  Zoom on  asked the Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht Information on Heather Humphreys Zoom on Heather Humphreys if she will report on funding for 1916 commemorations; the percentage of her Department's budget that was devoted to this; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [47010/14]

Deputy Ruth Coppinger: Information on  Zoom on  I wish to ask the Minister what percentage or proportion of funding for the arts budget is being devoted to the 1916 commemorations, compared to the rest of her departmental budget, and if she will make a statement on that.

Deputy Heather Humphreys: Information on Heather Humphreys Zoom on Heather Humphreys Capital provision of €22 million will be allocated in 2015 to a number of flagship projects, including the development of a permanent exhibition space and interpretative centre at the GPO; the restoration of Kilmainham Courthouse to enhance the visitor experience at Kilmainham Gaol; the provision of a permanent visitor facility at Cathal Brugha Barracks for the military service pensions archive; the development of visitor facilities at Teach an Phiarsaigh, Ros Muc; refurbishment works at Richmond Barracks; the development of a Tenement Museum in Dublin; and the commencement of refurbishment and development works at the National Archives and the National Concert Hall's Kevin Barry rooms. I have also secured an allocation of €4 million in current funding, which will complement the capital programme through the development of an integrated national plan focused on the commemoration of the centenary of the 1916 Rising. This allocation will support a wide range of activities and events, including local community activities and arts and cultural initiatives. There will also be a special emphasis on education projects, as recommended by the expert advisory group on commemorations.

A widespread public consultation process is now underway in order to encourage and facilitate the involvement of ground-up initiatives in the wider commemorative programme. I look forward to working with the Oireachtas all-party consultation group on commemorations, the expert advisory group, and a wide range of stakeholders over the coming 18 months to make the events of Easter 2016 a very special and poignant tribute to all those involved.

Deputy Ruth Coppinger: Information on  Zoom on  The information seems to be that all of the increase in the arts budget is being devoted to the commemoration of the 1916 Rising. Artists throughout this country are really struggling. Most people working in the arts are earning less than €8,000 per annum. It is believed that an artist's average wage is about €14,676 per annum. It was hoped that austerity would have ended for people in the arts sector, but it seems to be continuing. I have received emails from artists in my own constituency who have no heat for their studios and cannot afford paint or other materials to hone their craft. They are very disappointed that the 1916 commemorations are getting all the attention and all the budget.

I believe that the 1916 centenary is an important historical event whose pros and cons should be debated and discussed throughout the country. Its impact should be assessed on many different levels, but I do not believe it is the only thing worthy of Government funding. It would seem, however, to be where the lion's share of funding is going despite the best wishes of artists. For example, the budget for 2016 and 2017 is standstill funding and when one takes inflation into account, it is actually a cut in arts funding for the next two years.

Deputy Heather Humphreys: Information on Heather Humphreys Zoom on Heather Humphreys Just to clarify, I think the Deputy is referring to the Arts Council budget, which has remained the same as last year. The €4 million allocated for commemorations is additional funding. I want to ensure that the arts are involved in our commemorations and for that reason, while the finer detail has yet to be ironed out, the four main headings will broadly focus on local communities, arts, culture and education.

The arts budget, which is separate, has gone to the Arts Council and was maintained at last year's figure. We did get additional funding of €4 million for the commemorations.

Deputy Ruth Coppinger: Information on  Zoom on  I was referring to the Department's budget. The Arts Council and the national cultural institutions have had their budgets cut by 40% to 50% between 2008 and 2015. The Department's budget is, as I said, the same but when one takes inflation into account all the increase is going on one event - the 1916 commemoration. I do not think 1916 is unimportant but there are questions over why the Government is only devoting an increase to that, while not assisting artists and community arts throughout the country.

I hope there will be a real involvement by communities and ordinary people in the 1916 celebrations. I hope it will not be a grand style event, with military and heads of state tripping over each other coming into the country. The way the Minister is devoting money to 1916 with high profile events for the country is full of rhetoric. She is not giving any assistance to the arts, however, despite heralding a recovery and the end of austerity.

Deputy Heather Humphreys: Information on Heather Humphreys Zoom on Heather Humphreys As the economy improves, it is my job to get additional funding for the arts and I will certainly be doing so. The Deputy mentioned the end of austerity and I will be seeking additional funding for the arts in particular. I was glad that we obtained an additional €2 million for cultural institutions which was only announced on Friday in the context of the upcoming revised Estimates. I will continue to fight for additional funding for the arts, as well as for the Arts Council.

Seirbhísí Oileán

 90. D'fhiafraigh Deputy Michael P. Kitt Information on Michael Kitt Zoom on Michael Kitt den Aire Ealaíon, Oidhreachta agus Gaeltachta Information on Heather Humphreys Zoom on Heather Humphreys cad iad na tairiscintí agus cén plean atá aici chun seirbhís aeir a choinneáil d’Oileáin Árann; agus an ndéanfaidh sí ráiteas ina thaobh. [47044/14]

Deputy Michael P. Kitt: Information on Michael Kitt Zoom on Michael Kitt Ba mhaith liom freagra cinnte a fháil ón Aire Stáit maidir leis an seirbhís aeir d’oileáin Árann agus, go háirithe, maidir leis an scrúdú atá á dhéanamh ag an Aire agus ag an Roinn ar an tseirbhís seo faoi láthair. An mbeidh an tseirbhís seo ar fáil i rith na bliana atá le teacht agus bliain i ndiaidh bliana as sin amach? Níl mórán dóchás ag daoine ó thaobh na seirbhíse de. Tá imní ar a lán daoine nach mbeidh an tseirbhís seo ar fáil go dti mí Mhéan Fómhair an bliain seo chugainn.

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